Bert Weckhuysen recipient 2012 IACS International Catalysis Award

26. 3. 2012 | Susan

The IACS International Catalysis Award, established and administered by the International Association of Catalysis Societies (IACS), is given to Professor Bert Weckhuysen of the Debye Institute of Nanomaterials Science of Utrecht University (the Netherlands) in recognition for his pioneering development and use of spectroscopic methods to investigate heterogeneous catalysts at the micrometer and nanometer during their activation and function. In this manner, he has made very important contributions to the detailed understanding of activation and deactivation phenomena, taking place in zeolite- and metal (oxide)-based catalysts.

The award consists of a plaque and a honorarium of $ 5,000, and will be presented during the 15th International Congress on Catalysis in Munich, Germany, in July 2012. Weckhuysen will present a plenary lecture during this conference.

The IACS International Catalysis Award is given in recognition of individual contributions by a young person in the field of catalysis, such as a discovery or a significant improvement of a catalytic process, or an important contribution to the understanding of catalytic phenomena. The recipient must not have passed her/his 45th birthday by May 1 of the award year.

Professor Weckhuysen is being specifically recognized for his pioneering studies on the development and use of a wide variety of powerful in-situ micro- and nano-spectroscopy methods for investigating catalytic solids at the single particle level during their activation and realistic functioning. This has lead to new fundamental insight in the active site distribution, molecular diffusion barriers and catalytic deactivation phenomena of industrial relevant catalyst materials, such as fluid catalytic cracking and Fischer-Tropsch catalysts. For example, spatial heterogeneities in the catalytic activity, selectivity and coking within individual zeolite crystals have been revealed by a combination of novel micro-spectroscopy methods and the observed catalytic phenomena have been explained in terms of a complex but generally applicable zeolite intergrowth model. These intergrowth structures are of direct relevance to molecular diffusion phenomena and mesoporosity generation and in this manner impact the overall performance of a catalytic solid. Another breakthrough has been made by combining an in-situ reactor with X-ray microscopy. This has lead to the first thorough investigation of the activation and working of a Fischer-Tropsch catalyst at the nanoscale and allowed investigating in a dynamic manner the different inorganic and organic phases formed. Finally, by applying a specific staining method in combination with fluorescence and electron microscopy it has been possible to provide detailed insight at the single catalyst particle level in the deactivation phenomena, taking place during the catalytic cracking of crude oil.